Amber Tamblyn on the Importance of Choice

From Lithub:

“One of America’s most sacred values is the privilege of having choices; whether selecting political candidates, educators, or physicians, we are given options to inform our decision-making. The problem is, those options are limited. Most men have always been able to see different versions of themselves represented in positions of power, which is why the argument “The best candidate should get the job, regardless of their gender” is problematic, because the measurement for what is considered “the best” has, up until recently, been reserved for those exclusive few. Cis men, especially cis white men, have always had the luxury of being able to choose or be chosen by other men just like them, and because of this foundational freedom, they often overlook the importance of what having choice might mean for other people who do not have it as freely. Because most men have never had to protect choice in the same way women have, they often don’t see it as something with a shelf life—as something that can be taken from them at any moment. That’s why the very act of these six highly qualified women running for president was a necessary reminder of the importance of choice, both personal and professional.


“Even with all the women running for president, an air of sexism still permeates the current political landscape, a by-product of the patriarchal spell that has been cast over us for far too long, begging to be broken. It is a spell that says: We love that so many women are running, but we don’t believe any of them can win. We love all the women candidates, but Kamala Harris is too tough and untrustworthy a stateswoman. (And Joe Biden is not?) We love all the women candidates, but Elizabeth Warren is too scolding and angry. (And Bernie Sanders is not?) We love all the women candidates, but who is Kirsten Gillibrand anyway, and why does she remind me of my mother-in-law? This narrative seems to play out in every kind of political election like clockwork: Of course we want a woman to be president someday, just not that woman. Or that one. That woman is also not quite right. She’s too­­ emotional. No, sorry, she won’t do either. She’s irritating. Or her. She also won’t do. Or her. Nope. Sorry. No.”

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